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Author Topic: The Reckoning  (Read 186656 times)
Rebel in a Good Way
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« Reply #300 on: April 10, 2018, 12:59:50 pm »

Darth Vader, the suggestion was not a bad one.  I think it speaks to the trustworthiness of the investigator for both sides.  Some think GRACE might find abuse that's not there because their mission is focused on abuse.  As an employment attorney, others feel Joan might be more prone to favor employers.  I personally wouldn't trust anyone who has taught things like Piper has to be fair to women.  It's too bad they couldn't find someone in the middle; a solution must exist.

But you're right, it's not relevant at this point since a path has been chosen.  I did appreciate the main idea of your suggestion.
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DarthVader
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« Reply #301 on: April 10, 2018, 02:18:45 pm »

Thanks Rebel - and I agree - Piper's views (on a number of subjects) are too off to be an ideal person for something like this.
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Ghost
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« Reply #302 on: June 23, 2018, 04:50:07 am »

Hello JD..How are you great I hope and pray..i knew you as a 11 or 12,13 year old i thought you were a well mannered young man..sincere..honest and raised by loving parents and a good family..you were a mini me of your father..from the leather jacket to the spiky hair..yes....a Jr. in every way  shape and form..it is sad what has taken place over a period of time..maybe your father should get himself a  mini farm like you with a flowing stream.. with scenic views..peaceful..serene..just show your mama all the love in the world..maybe in the best interest of all..he  permanently step down and officially retire from his ministry..let the church start the healing process for all...give everyone a big hug and say i love you..our lord in heaven loves you..please forgive me..i am sorry for my actions and any pain i may have caused you..me myself have asked for forgiveness..let there not be hatred..only the love of our savior Jesus Christ..our Lord in heaven.....so i guess financial considerations must be given...your family should also be well taken care of in all ways..yes then there can be calmness..a peace within and people can go on with their own lives...so let us make this a message of love..hope and continued growth in our walk that lay before us...i just want to say I love you..your father and whole family..like to give you all a big hug right now...God Bless always...............Barry Day
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Rebel in a Good Way
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« Reply #303 on: September 21, 2018, 10:28:19 am »

Not to revive this awful thread but I just read that Leith Anderson will be participating in the new and improved investigation of Bill Hybels.  He has commended GCC on their website.  DV apparently made a good suggestion, but how can you commend one movement that covered up the EXACT same predatory behavior?

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/september/bill-hybels-willow-creek-investigation-advisors-iag.html?utm_source=ctweekly-html&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_term=12671490&utm_content=607597064&utm_campaign=email


This is from http://gccweb.org/about/relationships-partnerships/

"Great Commission Churches focus on evangelism and  discipleship that is 1st century biblical and 21st century relevant.”

Leith Anderson
President of the National Association of Evangelicals

John Hopler, in a personal e-mail has also referred someone with doubts about the organization to have Leith vouch for them.



I think your concern about privacy is not wrong, however, let me pose a solution to you that I think addresses your concerns and perhaps would have gotten much better victim engagement (would you agree that is also a good/of concern?).  Pick a trusted third-party, e.g., (just as an example) Leith Anderson (Woodale) or John Piper (Bethlehem) or Bob Bakke (Hillside Church), ECC writes them a check to cover the cost of the investigation and that person is given full discretionary power to select and pay for the investigator (it could even have been Joan, the attorney ECC picked), to decide what is shared/not publicly, to decide what recommendations are made to the Board (who does have to make any final decisions about ECC staff) and decide if those recommendations are shared publicly in whole-or-in part.


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DarthVader
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« Reply #304 on: September 21, 2018, 10:59:09 am »

Aw, thanks for giving me credit RIGW...fond memories of those days in March and April - NOT  Wink.  I will admit I did feel a bit vindicated when I saw Willow Creek's rebooted process - granted it took Bill H retiring early, terrible experiences from another victim coming out in the NY Times, the resignation of the two heir apparents and the entire board stepping down to get to a better investigative model, but they got there..

Hopefully with a balance of views across the team they assembled to lead the investigation they can get at the truth, despite any one person's shortcomings.  Overall, I think the new WC approach is very sound, light-years better than what they did the first time. Something like that (respected outsiders, independently financed) could probably become the template for how churches investigate claims like these.
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Free in Christ
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« Reply #305 on: September 21, 2018, 04:16:12 pm »

Just a note on Leith Anderson. His son is married to someone who was a missionary for GCM for a long time (a wonderful woman), so his endorsement is not surprising.
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Linda
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« Reply #306 on: October 14, 2022, 03:24:02 pm »

I'm not sure where to post this comment, so this is as good a thread as any. If anyone remembers discussing this before, let me know and I'll post in that thread. That said, I could not find a discussion of this topic.

Some background. A couple days ago, I was scrolling through my Twitter replies looking for a comment I had made in 2021 on a thread started by Beth Moore. I scrolled too far and came across a thread I had stumbled upon in April of 2021 (can't even remember how) that mentioned Mark Darling. I started reading the thread and there was a back and forth. I think the original thread was started by some exvangelicals, but the topic quickly changed when Jeromy Darling entered the discussion. At some point someone mentioned who his father was and the results of the ECC investigation and Jeromy took them on. Even linked to "The Reckoning".

Anyway, when scrolling through my twitter replies a couple days ago, I came across this old thread. I started reading the thread and noticed two things. One. Jeromy had deleted all his tweets on this thread. And two, Jeromy had blocked me from his Twitter account. This, of course, got me to wondering what he deleted and that, of course, led me to go to my screen shots from the exchange. Which, of course, I had.

Since I can't share screen shots on this forum, I will let you know a few things that stood out. First, one of the participants in the discussion was the wife of the BOT member from the Rock. Jessica Goodwin. She said that her husband read this forum and advocated for the victims and those supporting them. She also said that after the decision "We received letters in the mail "unfriending" us as well as people calling our house screaming at my husband. I'm thankful it's all over and we're out of that abusive church system. I wish my husband's voice was heard more in his advocacy for the women." In one tweet she described the experience as hellish.

Not sure why Jeromy cleaned up his account by removing his Tweets, but it could do with the fact that one of the Tweets said "I actually don't think any of them were lying. I think they believed it. Of the 4, only 2 accused of physical contact, which occurred once. What I think is people with mental illness coming out of the woodwork 30 years later to accuse a pastor of being creepy is entirely plausible." So, he suggested the victims were mentally ill. Classic. No wonder he thought better and tried to cover his tracks by removing the Tweets.

Perhaps the most telling part was Jessica's tweet that said "There were 19 total. 9 that were known about during the investigation. 4 that agreed to the interviewed and 10 that came forward after the investigation..."

I had totally forgotten that 10 more came forward after the results of the investigation were made known. So, had Jeromy not deleted his tweets on the thread and blocked me, I would not have revisited my screen shots. Ha!







« Last Edit: October 15, 2022, 04:07:02 am by Linda » Logged

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« Reply #307 on: October 14, 2022, 07:16:51 pm »


Thank you, Linda. The fact that 9 women came forward is more than enough. The Bible says two are reason to substantiate a claim. The fact that 10 more came forward after MD was finally found to be acting quite unlike an honorable “pastor/elder” probably gave those women some confidence they might actually be believed instead of destructively slandered. I’m sure the very brave women who first told of their abuse were greatly encouraged by their support. Statistics seem to show that there were likely others who may never report it. With the history of GCx leaders dismissing nearly all concerns about their own it is quite understandable victims wouldn’t trust the church leadership to really hear them.

People did not wait 30 years to report this “pastor’s” behavior. From those able to speak openly on this site, we have learned that people had noticed this inappropriate behavior for years, but it, like nearly all other complaints got dismissed, denied, and covered up. It took someone OUTSIDE GCx to get the truth out.

Facts are monumental to making informed decisions, or opinions about a matter. Scripture speaks to that. Thank God at least one BOT member listened to both sides, perhaps suspecting he would hear the silenced side on this very site. I am very sorry to hear how disgracefully they were treated.


He who answers a matter before he hears it—
this is folly and disgrace to him.

Proverbs 18:13



How dare some of the GCx National Leaders leverage financial assistance to the rest of the GCx leaders to get them to “agree with them that another National Leader, MD, was innocent”! What does that say about their priority to please God rather than men? What does that say about their trustworthiness in reporting on any concern of past victims?


And in all things show yourself to be an example of good works, with purity in doctrine [having the strictest regard for integrity and truth], dignified, sound and beyond reproach in instruction, so that the opponent [of the faith] will be shamed, having nothing bad to say about us.

Titus 2: 7-8


Self-preservation by the destruction of the sheep over and over and over boots one out of the category of honorable shepherd, by the way.

A close family relationship would not be where we might expect an unbiased opinion. Other sources not emotionally attached would be better suited for a balanced report.




*Using at least 11pt size text because it is harder to read at the 10pt default at my age. LOL
« Last Edit: October 14, 2022, 07:49:31 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

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« Reply #308 on: October 14, 2022, 09:11:08 pm »


People did not wait 30 years to report this “pastor’s” behavior. From those able to speak openly on this site, we have learned that people had noticed this inappropriate behavior for years, but it, like nearly all other complaints got dismissed, denied, and covered up. It took someone OUTSIDE GCx to get the truth out.

I don't have much to add to this discussion at the moment, but this is such an important point that it's worth repeating.
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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #309 on: October 15, 2022, 08:01:22 pm »


In case you are newer to this GCM [GCx] WARNING Forum, below are very brief portions of only a few of many posts regarding the disturbing information that was finally exposed by Scout and led to an outsider bringing about the “removal” of one of the GCx National Leaders who was also “shepherding” their local church/es.



I announced on Twitter last night (January 5, 2018) as part of the MeToo movement, that Mark Darling abused me and some of the other pastors were told of the abuse and nothing was done.  Mark is still in the pulpit and the other pastors that were made aware of the abuse in 2000 are still there as well. My hope is that there will be justice for me and the other women Mark Darling has abused.

... The executive pastor group, which included Mark Bowen, Mark Darling, Brent Knox, Mark Bowen and John van Dyck, asked to see a written copy of what I was going to say to Mark D.  My therapist was not wild about the idea, but I did give it to them.  I got the copies back and they had things crossed out and comments about how and what I could convey.  Any of the parts where I named Mark D. as 'abuser' were crossed off.  Anything having to do with sexual things were crossed off. I showed it to my therapist and he was visibly upset that they were trying to manage the narrative of me, the victim.  I'm proud to say that I included all the comments that the ECC executive pastor board crossed off.

-Scout


Thanks Scout for sharing.

I believe that Mark Darling has been spiritually abusive to so many believers in the Evergreen and Rock church's in Minneapolis.  I hope more people will share their specific experiences with Mark D, (or other specific pastors.)  Not to just vent and bad mouth a man or men, but to expose the real abuses and stories of lives that have been damaged.  Souls that have been wounded and traumatized.  
The truth is the truth.  

People who have been wounded have very real stories that need to be told, so people can have healing, and GOD's church can flourish.  God's church- not Mark's church. I personally know stories of many who have gone to Mark with concerns about his teachings or statements he has communicated from the pulpit. They became the problem. Many of those people have since left the church, and have been labeled as " divisive", or used as a " tool of Satan" to attack Mark.

Their is a loyalty that the elders have to each other that has harmed so many.  This vow to loyalty above truth is sin.  It is sin that needs to be repented of and renounced publicly.  God is opposed to the proud. ...

-Marie


Because you [Scout] have identified yourself, I am reminded of something that happened. There was an all church meeting to explain your situation regarding your return from the church plant. At this meeting, we were all told many things about you ending with WE SHOULD NOT CONTACT YOU TO ASK WHY YOU LEFT. While not specifically stated, the implication I got was that you might take legal action should someone ask you about your departure.

This hits close to home because when we left, we were surprised and saddened that no one asked us why we left. Many years later at the grocery store, someone asked me. I gave my reasons and then, through tears, said, "Thank you for asking me. You are the first person to ever ask me why we left." She said, "Well, when you left, we were told not to ask you why." I was shocked, but had a lot of questions answered.

I am so sorry I did not contact you to hear your side of the story.

Lesson learned: When a pastor tells you to not read a forum, or go to a web site critical of them, or contact anyone to hear their side of the story, head right on over to that site and/or call the other person.

-Linda



Topic Thread with Key Facts:  http://forum.gcmwarning.com/people-and-places-of-gc/pastor-mark-darling-pastor-that-abused-me/


« Last Edit: October 15, 2022, 08:06:19 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

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« Reply #310 on: October 16, 2022, 04:43:05 pm »


Continuing with More Facts and Important Points (emphasis mine):


Spring 2000:  I began therapy to begin dealing with the abuse from Mark Darling and Evergreen Church.

Early summer 2000:  I told my counselor that I wanted to confront my abuser Mark Darling in the safety of his office.

April of 2001:  John (husband and ECC pastor at the time) and I met with Mark and Kathy Darling, Mark Bowen and my therapist in his office for the meeting in which I would confront my abuser Mark Darling.

June of 2001:  we moved to Berlin, Germany to plant a church.

August of 2003: after learning from Mark Bowen (ECC pastor) that Mark D. did not follow through on my therapist's therapeutic recommendation (see earlier post about Mark Bowen agreeing that Mark D. should and would do both recommendations),  we decided to leave GCM, Rock Berlin and Evergreen.

Soon after that,  while John was in the States looking for a job (after being out of corporate America for a long time and not having a theology degree), we received an email from Evergreen Church stating, if we would not speak disparagingly about Evergreen Church that they would give us $60,000.  It was a contract that we would sign in order to buy our silence.  Of course, they stated the money was to help set us up in our new life.  
 
If the money was to help set us up in our new life, then why the statement about us not speaking ill of Evergreen Church?  What did they not want us to say?  The things that I said in my therapist's office, heard by not only Mark Darling, but Mark Bowen as well?

WE DID NOT TAKE THE MONEY BECAUSE IT WAS MONEY TO BUY MY SILENCE. …

UPDATE:  John reminded me, after we did not sign the buyout for our silence, Evergreen Church did give us $15,000 to help us financially as John was job hunting.  There was no written or verbal buying of silence with this money.  Though the attempt to buy our silence was disturbing, we were grateful for the $15,000 that they gave us with no strings attached.  (added to this post on 1.13.18).

-Scout


Also, I'm pretty sure the ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) would frown on this. Not to mention, as you say, the hard working families who donated to the church. …

I came across this link from the "Faith Trust Institute" about pastoral sexual abuse that really opened my eyes.

http://www.faithtrustinstitute.org/resources/learn-the-basics/ce-faqs#What%20is%20it?

Key points that stuck out to me

1. Sexual abuse can be physical and/or verbal (such as sexual talk, suggestive comments, tales of sexual experiences, questions about intimate details of your relationships, looking for sympathy about his partner's sexual inadequacies)

2. In a situation involving a pastor the pastor is ALWAYS wrong because of the difference in power. The member of the congregation is ALWAYS the victim.

-Linda


I want to specify that there's likely
1) More than one victim
2) No statute of limitations on sexual abuse in your state
3) Laws governing the use of donated funds that were broken.


-XianJaneway


I do know that their are other women who Mark Darling preyed on.

-Scout


I also remember the constant emphasis on submitting to the leadership, with the implications that something dreadful would happen to anyone who stepped out from under that leadership. But now, here's Scout, a woman who trusted herself fully to the leadership. Look at the dreadful things that happened to her, not in spite of her submission, but because of it.

-Huldah


As others have said, people in these [GCx] congregations are repeatedly taught to deny any allegation against an elder.  They are held in such god-like positions that few would dare to attempt to come forward.  In fact, when the victims do follow the biblical process of going to the leaders privately, they are only smiled at, and later “twistedly” shunned by the church.  Their closed system of communication and isolation make members prime targets for lies and abuse.

Thank you for warning others in this church/organization who will hopefully read your heart and soul breaking testimony, and finally understand THERE ARE TWO SIDES to every claim and it's HIGH TIME the other is HEARD!!  

-Janet


There are two sides to every story.  To hide part to the story is deceptive.
The Spirit of God can help God's children discern the truth.  We do not need Pastors to share one side of the story, and then tell the congregation to not ask any questions of the other party.

-Marie


Evergreen looks pretty good on the outside. Their ministries and worship look inviting and appealing and there are many kind, caring people who truly want to follow God that attend that church. Despite the outward appearance, however, the inner workings of the church  are warped and tainted. The Great Commission pastors seem to have given themselves ultimate control. They have formed a brotherhood in which they have each others' backs and have no accountability to anyone. Image is so very important. Pride trumps integrity.

They seem to believe they are the most important people in the church because God gave them that status. To me they are more like kings of the church and the church members are their subjects to be ruled or banished as they see fit...very different image than the sheep and shepherd in my opinion. Scout, I am so sorry for what you have experienced as a result of this trauma. Thank you for having the strength and courage to share your story. It matters. I believe you as well.

-wisemind


According to Steve Hassan, an expert on cults, this is called "love bombing". They give newcomers much time and attention. For if an abusive organization showed their true nature on the outset, many of us would not have joined.  It would have been too obvious.  In one of Hassan's books he wrote, that we do not join abusive groups, but are recruited into them.

And in my particular experience with Mark Darling, I was recruited which is another way to say I was groomed.   I was used to fulfill him.  I was used and trapped.

… I ask, how is a young  (or really whatever age woman, man or child) girl to "take" it when her married pastor drives her to a secluded park (in Bloomington, MN down by the river) to sit and talk for hours.  These car rides and long talks were sexualized; the conversation, the looks, the neediness on his part.   And yes, these car rides happened more than on a rare occasion, and I do know other women who experienced these as well.  I ask, who cares Mark Darling that you "loved" my family and I, when you sexually invaded my life?  When you used the power differential between us to exploit me? Mark Darling, how was I to "take" it when you hugged me long and so close that your erection was felt?  How were you "loving" me when you asked what I sounded like when I had an orgasm?  Or when you called me to come to your house, then upon arriving told me you and your wife were going into the basement to have sex. You liked knowing I could hear you.   There is no other way to take these and others things you did to me other than what they are, abuse.  To quote Diane Langberg, "It is always the responsibility of the person with power to maintain the integrity of the relationship.  Always."

-Scout



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« Reply #311 on: October 19, 2022, 09:55:18 pm »


More Important Facts and Points to Ponder

(Bold emphasis mine)



Approximately 23 years ago, I felt very uncomfortable with ways in which Mark Darling was behaving and set up a meeting to talk to him about it. By this time I was one of his "special" girls and had moved on to being one of his "special" married couples.  We were in his inner circle and felt chosen, special and remarkable.

 ... this meeting took place approximately 5 years before the meeting in my therapist's office in which I confronted Mark Darling. ... I went out with him to Baker's Square to talk to him about this behavior.  Interestingly, I chose a public place, as we usually talked alone in his basement or in his car when he drove me to a park near the Minnesota River in Bloomington. ...

When we spoke he was very defensive, angry and I understand now using gaslighting tactics in order to confuse and get me to doubt reality.  Going home from that meeting at Baker's Square, I still felt "right" in the things I confronted Mark about, but now had a lot more confusion and doubt; maybe I was remembering things incorrectly, possibly I was not having a forgiving spirit, etc?  Very soon after arriving home, I received a phone call from another pastor's wife.   She and her husband too, were part of Mark's inner circle.  Her words, I do remember, "How could you do this to Mark after all he has done for you and your family?"  She was quite upset, as Mark had called to tell her about mine and Mark's conversation.  As well, soon after, when Mark was teaching, he spoke about how even Jesus and Paul had disciples turn against them.  Thus equating me talking to him about his spiritually abusive behavior  as sign that he, Mark, was following God and being persecuted exactly like our spiritual forefathers.  He had others talk to me as well, saying I was slandering Mark, hurting him and having a Jezebel like spirit.  Mark, himself, became cold towards me.

-Scout


I might know what you mean about being a "special girl," because I was NOT one in my old GCM church, but I was aware of that dynamic.  I was a little jealous of the approval I saw others receiving, so I can see why if you were the recipient, you would be motivated to keep it up, and not to disappoint someone who is second to God.

-Rebel in a Good Way


As many of you know, yesterday Evergreen Church read a statement to their churches concerning my "allegations" of abuse against Mark Darling

There are a few inaccuracies and I will begin to address them.

They stated that the first they were made aware of Mark Darling's abuse of me was 1 month ago via Twitter (Jaunuary 5, 2018).

Mark Bowen, Brent Knox and Doug Patterson were made aware of his abuse approximately 17 years ago.  The executive pastors (which at the time were Mark Darling, Mark Bowen, John van Dyck and Brent Knox) requested to see what I was going to say to Mark Darling in my therapist's office beforehand.  Mark Bowen was in my therapist's office when I confronted Mark Darling as well.  And lastly, we interacted and talked about these things with Doug Patterson privately as at the time they were good friends of ours.

Scout, 2/05/18


From the statement: "In an effort to discern the truth of these allegations and partially and without bias, Evergreen is in the process of hiring a reputable third-party investigator to independently investigate the facts surrounding these claims...At the close of the investigation, the findings will be submitted to the Evergreen Board of Trustees to determine the appropriate next steps."

I'm not sure how one would go about finding a "reputable third-party investigator", is that a thing? Plus, it would seem that the second you pay them, they are working for you and thus not exactly independent, but lets say they find someone who is fair and thorough.

The findings will be submitted to the ECC Board of Trustees! That's amusing.

Last I heard, the Board of Trustees of ECC was appointed by the elders.

Last I checked, the elders were appointed by current elders in a line of succession going all the way back to the first century, oh, sorry, I mean going all the way back to 1970 and Jim McCotter.


In a normal elder run church (one where the elders are elected by the congregation they are accountable to) this makes sense. In a church where the board of trustees is appointed by the elders who, in turn, were appointed by elders, and where the congregation has no meaningful input, this is akin to the fox guarding the hen house.

-Linda


I joined Evergreen in 1988, met my husband there (as all good girls do), and helped plant the Plymouth location. We left in 2000, not because of any problem we had with the church at the time, but because my husband was changing careers and his only job offer was out of state. We were, although not recognized as leaders, extremely involved. He was in the band, and I had basically been unpaid full-time staff for the previous five years (I planned all the Celebration events among many others). The backlash we received at our announcement shocked me. One small group leader even told us that Satan was trying to lure us away from the faith. I now believe that it was God leading us out, because I now look back on the 12 years I spent there and recognize the spiritual abuse that I never saw for what it was at the time.

I feel compelled to say a few things. First of all, I believe you. I am sick to my stomach to learn the details, but I am somehow not shocked that any of it happened. Second, I commend you for your incredible courage - in seeking counseling outside the church, in bringing it up to church leadership, in leaving the church, turning down their payout, and now going public. I have an insider's understanding of how church members, particularly women, were groomed to be compliant and silent, and I am cheering you on as you defy that mold. Lastly, I need to very humbly apologize for the resentment I felt toward you. You were always held up as the perfect example of a godly woman, and in my mind, you represented everything I wanted and would never have. I saw only privilege and failed to see your pain.

-bLizard


I read something on GCx' website that Mark Darling is removed from ministerial duties for the time being.  That's good news.  But It's tough to realize that this discussion and his temporary removal may be all that ever happens to him.

-Linda, 2/13/18


There have been 4 other victims and survivors of abuse at the hands of Mark Darling that have reached out.  As one can imagine, it can be incredibly difficult to come forward publicly about something as vile as being abused.  And I am sure we all agree that a victim can choose to never come forward publicly in order to validate the abuse done to them.   However, I am in the process of arranging an avenue for victims to come forward anonymously.  Please pray for these women and myself.  

-Scout, 2/15/18


This afternoon I received an email from lawyer that Evergreen Church/Mark Darling have retained as their "independent 3rd party investigator".  For those of you not on Twitter or Facebook, following is FB post.

"Evergreen Church you announced to your church that you were hiring an "independent 3rd party investigator to address pastor Mark Darling's abuse of me. As of today you have not done what you told your congregation you would do. You a hired a lawyer to represent yourselves and Mark Darling. Your lawyer emailed me stating she is the "investigator". Law 101: A lawyer cannot represent both sides in a contested matter because that would be a conflict of interest. When will you do what you told your church you would do? Still waiting to be contacted by an "independent 3rd party investigator"."

Additionally, Evergreen Church/Mark Darling's lawyer, "3rd party investigator", wrote that as part of the investigation she wants to speak with me and in doing so I will not be able to speak and/or post about any documents I give her or anything we speak of. Following is my post concerning it on FB.

Evergreen Church, 17 years ago you offered me $60K to not speak of Mark Darling's abuse of me. I rejected it then and I will not give my voice away now in order for you to protect my abuser, Mark Darling, and your cover up of his abuse. As you know, the attorney you hired wrote that once I speak with her in regards to Mark Darling's abuse of me and your subsequent cover up , I will give up my ability to speak of Mark's abuse of me. Not a chance. When will you learn? I will not be bought or silenced.
-Scout


[Scout,] I saw your latest post on Facebook regarding the sexual abuse by your pastor who now denies your allegations.  
 
"Evergreen Church, let's split the cost of "independent 3rd party investigator". GRACE is willing to take on this investigation. If Mark Darling is innocent and other pastors there did not partake in the subsequent cover up, then I am sure you would want others to know that. Call them up and let's do this."

-Janet


In speaking with GRACE they indicated that when there has been previous cover up of pastoral sexual abuse, the odds of the church now utilizing their services is close to zero.  The representative I spoke with stated it has much to do with the fact they publish the results so both sides as well as the public has access to the results. Such a curious thing, if they believe I am making all of this up (the abuse and ensuing cover up) then it would seem they would be anxious to clear their name by using an organization like GRACE.  They specialize in ministry pastoral abuse and utilizes law enforcement, lawyers, medical professionals and pastors and would seem a welcomed "independent 3rd party investigator" so they can identify me as a liar.

-Scout


I haven't made a peep for a while, but I have been following Scout's story and sickened.  It was predictable. This is the same group I was a part of for years and years.  We were loyal soldiers, until we had some doubts and questions.  

It was totally common knowledge that Mark Darling had this group of pretty young single girls that he hung out with.  It wasn't even hidden.  I remember thinking that I sure would not want that in my marriage.  No way!  Seemed inappropriate, but you don't question someone who has put themselves on a pedestal and you can't take your concerns to others who are also pedestalized...

One thing in Scout's story sounded so familiar.  When she was confronted by a pastor's wife about, "How could you do this after all Mark Darling has done for you?" (Very creepy.) But my husband and I in the Jim McCotter days were given a big fat treatise written by JM about tithing.  We read it and had some issues with the tone of it.  We told our pastor we did not think people should be strong armed into tithing and that it did not seem like our church had enough structure and accountability for the finances.  (My husband counted the money and kept the books.) Well, our pastor Jim Coleman brought another high up (someone from Ames I think) and confronted us about our rebellion and how we had better watch out.  So, we slunk our heads back under the shell, just like Scout did.  Intimidation.  You don't question. You don't think. You don't have speakers outside the movement. You don't read books by other theologians or anything like that.  Hate to overuse the word but the whole thing is so creepy.

-GodisFaithful




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« Reply #312 on: October 20, 2022, 07:32:46 pm »

Quote
Very soon after arriving home, I received a phone call from another pastor's wife.   She and her husband too, were part of Mark's inner circle.  Her words, I do remember, "How could you do this to Mark after all he has done for you and your family?"  She was quite upset, as Mark had called to tell her about mine and Mark's conversation.

How very odd that Mark's first reaction was to call another woman and triangulate her into the situation. That seems inappropriate on several levels.  
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« Reply #313 on: October 20, 2022, 08:57:40 pm »

More Facts and Important Points from the Most Viewed Topic on This Forum

“Pastor Mark Darling - Pastor who abused me”



This topic above where many of these excerpted posts came from has received over 328,000 views. The link is http://forum.gcmwarning.com/people-and-places-of-gc/pastor-mark-darling-pastor-that-abused-me/. What follows here is a continuation of the recapping of important facts and points on this crucial subject regarding GCx leaders, and it’s former National Leadership. (All the bold emphasis below is mine.)



... The bravery of the women (and men) who began speaking vocally of their abuse through the #MeToo and #ChurchToo movement, emboldened me to come forward again. I have discovered through therapy and research that abusers rarely ever have one victim and that their victims tend to get younger and younger. This too was an impetus for coming forward again. ...

-Scout, 2/10/18


In an email dated February 16, 2018 Joan wrote that her "firm has no relationship with Evergreen" other than conducting an independent investigation with the Evergreen Board of Trustees. [Photo 3]
Both publicly and through email I requested Joan state in writing that if she has "no relationship with Evergreen" (attorney/client privilege) to state so in writing. [Photo 4]

Joan, on February 19, 2018, inadvertently copied me on an email to Lynn Newman, Evergreen' Board of Trustees point person. She contradicts her previous statement [Photo 3] of having "no relationship with Evergreen" by now writing that she is "bound by a/c [attorney/client] privilege". [Photo 5]
A few minutes later she emailed to acknowledge that sending email [Photo 5] was "accidental". JH [name abbreviated], employment law attorney representing Evergreen's Board of Trustees formally acknowledges that indeed this is not an "independent 3rd party investigation" because she is bound to EC Board of Trustees by attorney/client privilege. [Photo 6]

I was well aware that JH was bound by client/attorney privilege but because Evergreen framed this as an investigation run by an "independent 3rd party", I felt it important that it be stated correctly.
Evergreen Board of Trustees hired an attorney to protect their interests as I have hired an attorney to investigate pastor Mark Darlings's abuse of me.
I am fully participating in the investigation and wrote Evergreen's attorney, JH, to let her know my attorney will be contacting her. I have hired an attorney to ensure I am represented as equally as Evergreen is by their attorney and to ensure that the findings will be made public.

-Suzanne Documented on Facebook, 2/20/18


...the attorney did try to portray herself as a party without loyalty doing an "independent" investigation.  

The accidental e-mail shows that the attorney forwarded e-mails from Suzanne directly to the Board.

The accidental e-mail reveals that of course there had been attorney-client privilege with ECC the whole time, but not until Suzanne asked for direct clarification (because she KNEW about this privilege) was that disclosed.

The accidental e-mail reveals a disrespectful manner of communicating about a potential abuse victim.  Which leads one to wonder if perhaps the attorney has already also decided that Suzanne is lying?  

The accidental e-mail shows that the attorney is REQUESTING INPUT from the Board about how to proceed with her "investigation." ...

... The couple can't speak legally but Ravi can.  So...again we are talking about who controls the narrative and that is also a factor in Scout's story.

-Rebel in a Good Way


[JH] got her undergraduate degree from Drake in Des Moines. I wonder if she was involved with Walnut Creek Church while she was there and is sympathetic GCC and their practices. ... her e-mail correspondence seems unprofessional and biased toward Evergreen so it makes me wonder. Scout, you are very brave and tenacious. Thank you for standing up for all who have been abused. I stand with you.

-wisemind


I remember MD [name abbreviated] in Ames.  He had mental health issues.  Was taken off leadership at one point.  They as usual were secretive as to why.  I remember one of his sermons where he called the parishioners his Bride.  He also called himself a prophet.

Anyone reading these posts still part of this church movement should take heed.  This is a cult.  It took me too long to find out (10 years). ... I was definitely spiritually abused.  I also had a leader showed up unexpectedly at my house with the apology letter to convince me to come back. ... There were so much toxic control and there still is.  

To those who think he’s [MD] a great speaker.... Cult leaders are always great speakers, orators!

-Gladtobegone


We just left Evergreen two years ago, and many of these painful practices were still happening. Strict discipline for the kids, homeschooling was the remedy for everything, women’s opinions were not heard. When we left at first the pastors seemed genuinely concerned for our spiritual wellbeing...like we wouldn’t be let into the pearly gates once we left the church. But then the tone changed and we were specifically told not to expect to hear from our Evergreen friends anymore ...

-Sheeple,  2018


This is part of the reason that spiritual abuse is being discussed in step with Suzanne's assertions.  Without this unbiblical power structure in place, abuse could not continue once exposed. I have seen some people completely try to separate the issues of sexual and spiritual abuse, but the unhealthy culture of GCC is what allowed for Suzanne and the other women to be groomed (I write it that way because I do believe them, looking again at "patterns" and how power/control work).

-Rebel in a Good Way


According to a guy who goes to Evergreen, who claims to be in the know, Evergreen is claiming that THEY are the third party. (This is on FB by the way.) Mark is one party, Suzanne is one party, and Evergreen is one party.  Evergreen, aside from Mark who is being accused, is pure as the wind driven snow so they get to be the third party, and this is where the confusion is coming in.  People are trying to find out who is on the Board of Trustees and it seems to be appointed by the pastors, which they think is just fine because only someone hostile to Evergreen would think the other pastors who appoint the BOT are corrupt. One pastor is usually on the BOT, but supposedly he recused himself.  So they are calling the investigation unbiased because supposedly Evergreen is unbiased, they just want to get to the bottom of whether their employee, Mark Darling, did anything wrong and then at the end the BOT will decide how to discipline him.

-GodisFaithful


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« Reply #314 on: October 20, 2022, 09:03:02 pm »

Quote

Very soon after arriving home, I received a phone call from another pastor's wife.   She and her husband too, were part of Mark's inner circle.  Her words, I do remember, "How could you do this to Mark after all he has done for you and your family?"  She was quite upset, as Mark had called to tell her about mine and Mark's conversation.

How very odd that Mark's first reaction was to call another woman and triangulate her into the situation. That seems inappropriate on several levels.  


Very thought-provoking point, Huldah.


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« Reply #315 on: October 23, 2022, 09:02:16 pm »




Let's not forget the dismal record of honesty so far in how Evergreen is trying to tell this story about Scout.

Suzanne was fully heard in this matter.  (Against Evergreen's pastor's wishes, since they crossed out stuff they did not like.  That is not listening.)

20 years ago.  (Actually, 17 years ago.  Why is Evergreen rounding up? So it looks a little better?)

No further action steps were required by the Van Dykes or the mediator. (Nope again.  There were 2 steps of action asked for and agreed to.)

The mediator.  (There was no mediator, which is someone who represents both sides. It was Suzanne's counselor.)

Van Dykes received over a million dollar gift to start a church in Berlin. (How sadly laughable. The $ went to GCM, Van Dykes raised support.)

"within a year of the mediation process"  (What? I thought everyone had been heard and satisfied.  A mediation process??)

We have nothing but good will for the Van Dykes.  (If this is how Evergreen treats friends, I would hate to be on their bad side.  Why the Evergreen public meeting where people are told not to talk to the Van Dykes or their siblings? Why the lie about how they are in counseling? Why the insinuation that something is so wrong with them that you can't talk to them? Hmmmm...is something being covered up? And why the mean comment about how they should never have been sent to Germany? Is this considered good will?)

If Suzanne would like another private meeting they would welcome it.  (She already tried that and got nothing.)

We are in the process of hiring a reputable third party investigator.  (Turned out to be a lawyer that was representing only them.) . . .

-GodisFaithful



Her [Suzanne’s] Facebook says there are 7 [ victims]. Two have shared their story and the third is in the process.

I would think with all the intimidation and harassment they are afraid to come forward.   I know I would be.

-Gladtobegone, 3/10/2018



On this forum Scout has chosen to tell her story and some of us believe her.

I knew her and her husband back in the day.  The sweetest of people.  Super loyal to Evergreen.  Very giving and kind.  Not the kind of people that you would think are crazy and deluded.  I can verify that. In fact they were sent out as missionaries by Evergreen.

I can also verify that Mark used to hang out and confide in young single pretty  girls.  My husband also says he remembers this.  That is a very dangerous and ill advised practice for a pastor.

I also am suspicious of the way that Evergreen has come out with statements that have been verified to be untrue. It makes me think they are trying very hard to cover this up.

All the good fruit in the world does not take away the sin and damage to Scout's life, if this allegation turns out to be true.  I truly am sad about it, for both sides. I believe that Evergreen lacks humility and integrity in their leadership.

-GodisFaithful


There is an article on nbc.com if you google Larry Nassar, where Scout is interviewed for a possibility of telling her story of abuse. ...

-GodisFaithful, 3/14/2018



Once they returned from Berlin, they had no voice whatsoever.

In fact, there was a meeting that I attended in which we were actually told not to contact the Van Dycks and ask them why they left.

In addition, we were told not to ask any questions about them of relatives who still attended ECC. ...

If there is nothing to hide, why will ECC not agree to transparent results of an independent investigation? It is a curiosity.

-Linda



What you just described, Linda, is the shunning that occurs in controlling and abusive churches. The fact that they did not bring it forward at the time could be due to not having a case or it could be due to the practice of shunning, which multiple members have attested to. I participated in shunning those who left my GC church. I was often told a spin version of why they left. In one meeting, I blatantly heard a pastor said we were not to talk with a person and have nothing to do with them. I experienced it towards myself when I chose to leave as well. In such an environment, it is very difficult to have a fair hearing.

-Outtathere



From what she stated on this forum, they didn’t realize that the planned therapy wasn’t going to take place when they left. They learned of it after they arrived in Germany and it precipitated their departure.

-Linda



I think it's become clear that they have no idea what this [independent investigation] actually means. Somehow an investigation by their lawyer = fair and balanced. And they act like this is some major concession, like they are somehow doing Suzanne a favor. After seeing their arrogant, entitled, and self-righteous troll campaign in action, I completely understand why Suzanne has cut off all communication with them.

-G_Prince



Just wanted to state that Victim C and husband said that they sent the leadership at Evergreen a letter strongly urging them to deal with Mark Darling's issues.  They did not get a response back that anything was done.  Nada.  That letter might have been kept.

-GodisFaithful



... I just can't give Mark Darling the benefit of the doubt here. There are several women who have now told the story of their abuse. They have specific details and sound credible. The stories are similar. The husband of one victim confronted Mark telling him to stay away from his wife. I'm sure Mark would have been careful about not letting others know about the time spent with these women, especially his own family. It doesn't surprise me that he left no evidence.  I would think that his time was not monitored by anyone and he could arrange his schedule to meet with these women without anyone suspecting anything. If his wife suspected or knew of this behavior what could she do about it? Who could she go to for support I wonder? The other pastors clearly have Mark's back. Divorce really is not an option in GCC. Women are submissive to their husbands, especially the pastor's wives. I have to believe Suzanne and the other victims are telling the truth. What do they gain by making this up?

-wisemind



Suzanne has consistently asked for an independent investigation with the results to be made public.That much is incontestable.

What I don't understand is, what's in it for her, if she's making the whole thing up?

If she's making it up, then she must know that she will, at the very least, be publicly exposed as a vicious liar. She must also know how much that would hurt and humiliate her family. Not to mention that she's setting herself up to be sued for slander (and if it turns out that she's lying, I would encourage Mark to go after for damages).

Granted, her willingness to go public and demand an investigation doesn't actually prove that she's telling the truth, but it raises a question that I find difficult to answer. If she's willing to publicly put her reputation, her financial welfare, and her family's peace of mind on the line for a lie, then why?

-Linda


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« Reply #316 on: October 24, 2022, 05:01:04 pm »

I've been pondering all this from a different angle: the way Mark's supporters unwittingly helped bring about his downfall. If they had stayed away, instead of coming here to stir up a hornet's nest, would there even have been an investigation by ECC? Would the matter still have ended up on TV?

If they had stayed away, Suzanne would have told her story here; the forum regulars would have given her some words of support; then the whole thing would probably have died down, as far as the forum was concerned.

Instead, they came here spoiling for a fight, but their presence on the forum backfired. Thanks directly to them, a great deal of unflattering information about Mark ended up being documented here, which otherwise would probably never have become public. The infamous "you can be a virgin again" sound clip came to light and was used on TV (which was really unfortunate in a couple of ways). The tax exemption problem with Jeromy's now-defunct charity was exposed. None of this would have happened if Mark's supporters had simply avoided the forum.

I'm not writing this with any sense of gloating. The whole episode hurt a lot of people on both sides and caused lasting resentment. I'm glad the victims found some measure of justice and vindication, but the rest of it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
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« Reply #317 on: October 25, 2022, 11:52:58 am »

I guess the point I'm trying to make is, they started a campaign of bullying, and it not only didn't help their own cause, it actively damaged it, so all the stress and chaos they put the forum through was for nothing. They collectively owe a massive apology for their behavior here, yet as soon as the ECC board announced its findings, they vanished from the forum overnight and never admitted they'd been wrong all along about Mark, much less apologized for their behavior. Worse yet, if there were any unbelievers reading here (as there probably were), all the craziness made Christians look absolutely unhinged, which is not a minor point. After all this time, I still can't think about it without feeling disgusted.
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« Reply #318 on: October 29, 2022, 07:42:43 pm »

I agree, Huldah, that it was an awful, perverted entrapment for Scout and other young women in those GCx Churches. Having their personal boundaries be invaded with very intrusive sexualized questions and inquiries and very inappropriate physical approaches. They were abusively exploited by the very person they were told to trust and turn over the controls of their life to, because he was acting in “God’s stead.” And with no honorable shepherds to protect the victims though they told them of his perverted ways. Some of them may never darken the door to a church again.

I agree that the attacks from MD’s supporters upon Scout and these women incited doubt to say the least, and many were downright savage. The ferocious attacks did draw more attention to the already unsettling exposure. It seems there is actually a spike in page views when victims of abuse on this Forum are bullied. Like you said their intentions seem to backfire. Proverbs 26:27 quotes in The Message:

Malice backfires; spite boomerangs.


In light of this undeserved and bitter treatment, it is amazing that the other 18-19 women came forward.


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« Reply #319 on: October 30, 2022, 06:55:05 pm »


More Facts, Important Points and Key Evidence
in The Unhealthy and Very Inappropriate Practices of
GCx National Leader and Pastor of GCx Church Evergreen (Hometown Church), Mark Darling



Right now there is no independent investigation / investigator for them to go to with their stories and evidence and witnesses.  But they seem ready and willing.  And John has made clear statements of support.

-Shamednomore,  3/17/18



I know Suzanne is not lying because I happen to know two of the other victims personally. The victim accounts that Suzanne is posting are true. It's time for Mark's defenders to stop living in a fantasy land are start facing up to the fact that he will finally be held to account.

I know your dad [MD] very well. He has asked me inappropriate questions about me and my wife's intimacy. Your dad has an unhealthy fascination with hearing about sex from other people. As for the other two victims, their stories are not wishy-washy. They are true. I'm sorry for the pain that this is causing you and your family, but your father's sin is finally coming home to roost. It's about time.

-zeal4god,  3/17/18



I have also heard (sitting in front of them) three people's accounts of what has happened to them...

Also every single pastor of ECC should be asked what they know. Many of them have personally heard Suzanne's story as well as others. They are also accountable for what has happened in the past and what is happening now. Oh right, they were told to remain silent...guess that won't happen.

Suzanne is NOT the only person to have accused MD, but you see a gag order or whatever you want to call it was signed by the ECC pastors way back when. The pastors have been given a pass...get out of jail free card because they have been told to remain silent and trust me...they will. Not a single one will incriminate themselves.

GCM or whatever they call themselves now should also be asked what they knew over the years. Why haven't they hired a 3rd party investigator?

-searching,  3/17/18



I believe that scout was a victim of multiple forms of abuse by her pastor Mark Darling…
I believe the account of Victim C, and count it as a second account of abuse at the hands of Mark Darling.
I believe the account of Victim A, and count it as a third account of abuse at the hands of Mark Darling.
I believe the reports that say there could be 3-5 other women with similar stories that either choose not to speak or are fearful of what will happen if they speak.

I believe that this [“active suppression”] will likely cause the "investigation" to come to inconclusive results, not able to verify fully and evidence of abuse, but for you "followers", I'd like to point out that doesn't make Mark innocent, it just makes him not able to be found guilty by this "investigation" that was handcuffed by the suppression from within our church working on his behalf.

I will be extremely troubled that the investigation by my church was potentially hand-cuffed by the forces for suppression from within my church.  I will be left unsure whether I should trust one of the founding pastors of my church.  I will be left unsure whether any of the other pastors from this church even had the necessary level of accountability over Mark.  I will be left to wonder if all the rumors of our cult-like past are more than just rumors.

-Mapleleaf,  3/24/18



There is evidence right here on this forum of questionable behavior by Mark, in the form of a user named Zeal4God who says Mark asked him sexually intrusive questions. But does the lawyer know about this forum, and is she free to contact members to solicit their statements? Or is the lawyer limited to a passive role of sitting back and waiting for statements to trickle in? If her role is passive, then the word "investigation" is misleading. Until we understand more about the process, it's pretty hard to have much faith in it.

-Huldah,  3/24/18



... So this girl called me Saturday, day before Easter and, uh very very mis-trusting. She’s about 36, been divorced, been through unbelievable pain and difficulties in her life and she was calling me and so we talked a little bit and she said, “You know I feel better already.”  So she was gonna come, but she had to work Easter.

She came to my home today. We had an appointment. And she came over to my home, and she told me her story and what’s been happening in her life and I was able to share the Lord with her and share Christ with her and help give her hope, and gave her some tapes -- four tapes-- and she didn’t at that particular time come to know Christ.

But she was going for a job interview which is a very difficult thing for her. She’s been out of work and trying to find a job. She’s gone back to college, finished her degree.  It’s just been a very very hard road, and so I called her about 6 tonight just to see how her interview went.  

She couldn’t believe that I called and she said,  “Mark, I’ve already listened to three of the tapes three times in the car.  I just can’t believe the things you’re telling about on those tapes and the way they were touching my heart.”  She says, “That’s what I want, that’s what I’ve been missing in my life-- is God in my life.”  And she said, you know when she came, she came at one and my children of course were home and so my children--   I just sat down on purpose I didn’t go to the door because I wanted them to greet her at the door.  So she walks in. They’re standing there in a line and they say , “Hi (redacted)!  I told them what her name would be.

And she just kinda, “Wow you guys are beautiful!” You know and then I went up and introduced myself cause we never met before and we went downstairs.  Then we left-- when she left, she met Kathy for about 30 seconds, saw the baby, talked to the kids again, left, and when I was visiting with her on the phone, she said, “Mark I just can’t believe it.  That’s a family I’ve always dreamed of having in my life.” ...

-MD,  transcribed from 1989 recording, from strongdisciple.com: marriage/playing-by-the-rules-a-commitment-to-our-god-given-roles-and-responsibilities




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